NILES - Girard native and veteran David C. Hall, who flew planes over the Himalayan Mountains in India during World War II, shared his military experience recently with Niles McKinley High School students.
Hall, 87, was invited to speak in Steve Papalas' U.S. History classes on his years during the war as a pilot as part of the China-Burma-Indian Theater.
Hall's story had also been included in the book, ''The Allied Resupply Effort in the China-Burma-Indian Theater During World War II'' by Leo Daugherty. An entire chapter is dedicated to Hall.
Girard native David Hall, who served during World War II and flew planes over the Himalayan Mountains during the China-India-Burma Theater, spoke recently to U.S. History students at Niles McKinley High School, where his granddaughter Annie Reese is a student. Hall showed some of his memorabilia that he had from his military service.
During the war, Hall flew missions to support the British Army into Burma and China and to get there had to fly over the Himalayan Mountains.
Hall spent three years, nine months and 12 days in the military following his graduation from high school in 1942 when he started aviation cadet training for the Air Force before being called to active duty as a pilot.
''I was classified as a pilot. You could either be classified as a pilot, a bombadier or a navigator,'' Hall said noting that before training he had never even been in an airplane.
Additional cadet and basic flying training took place in Texas and Oklahoma before Hall went to advanced flying school where he graduated as a second lieutenant United States Army Air Force Fourth Combat Cargo Command in August 1943.
He said at the age of 19 he began to train and fly in B-26 bombers and C-46, a large WWII engine.
Hall's time took him into Asia in 1944 often spending 12 to 14 hours a day flying.
''We had hundreds of C-46 airplanes working with the British Army that had to fly above the Himalayan Mountains,'' Hall said.
He said the pilots flew the jets to India and China having to go above the high mountains, some more than 65 feet, which were all south of the highest mountain, Mt. Everest. This was known as ''flying the hump.''
In India, he and the other pilots had a pet monkey. He said everyone had to be careful with their shoes since some small poisonous snakes would often hide inside them.
Hall was in Burma in 1945 when he learned the war had ended.
Hall received numerous honors including Distinguished Flying Cross and air medals. He said he had a total of 856 combat hours and 3,000 flying hours, mostly flying with the British.
''One thing I learned and share with others is that you learn to respect others for their positions they held,'' Hall said.
After the war, Hall did apply for a pilot position with Capital Airplane in New York but then returned to Youngstown College receiving a degree in mechanical engineering. He is self-employed and works as Girard's part-time engineer.
Niles resident Annie Reese, Hall's granddaughter, said she was glad her grandfather was able to speak to the class and share his military story.
''It was interesting to see the students' reaction and the questions they asked,'' Reese said.
''Mr. Hall dedicated four years of his life fighting against forces that were trying to take rights away from us,'' Papalas said, indicating students have studied World War II.